Training With RA Update

05.6.12

It’s come to my attention that I’ve mentioned my training with Loren a few times, and I’ve even shared a video with you that will explain why I’m giving up on flip flops forever, but I haven’t really shared with you some of the wisdom that I’ve acquired over the last three weeks.

Exercising with arthritis is like fast forwarding your joints about 40 years. The elliptical that used to be your BFF for low impact days actually hurts your hips. HIPS, like the thing my grandmother broke.

Want to lift weights? Forget about it on a rainy day, my hands are simply not up to the task.

The first week that I worked out with Loren I was just trying to find my rhythm. I’ve become competent in a few basic exercises so that now we can get through a circuit. Although I clearly chose the trainer that’s best for me I noticed that all the trainers at 24 Hour Fitness are using circuit training to some degree. There’s one guy who is always there at the same time as me and his trainer is either trying to make him Mr. Universe or trying to kill him. They do just about everything I do except with massive amounts of weight and he’s got like no body fat.

Circuit training is when you go from one exercise to another and keep your heart rate up. It sort of kills two birds with one sweaty stone. It’s an aerobic workout and it builds strength.

If you have RA like me working with a trainer might be more necessity than luxury. It’s very important to build strength and to keep unnecessary weight off your frame. Our joints are wearing out faster than people without Rheumatoid Arthritis so we have to be proactive in protecting them.

There are two things Loren and I have been focusing on: core strength and balance. These are my two least favorite things because they are hard for me. I’m like everyone else, I like to do the stuff I’m good at and I love to avoid the stuff that challenges me.

One of the circuits that I do for core consists of the following three exercises: Russian Twist, plank and V-set. I do 40 of the Russian Twist, 40 seconds of plank and then 40 seconds of V-Sets. Then we repeat that two more times for a total of three runs through the circuit. I often do this first with Loren BUT I don’t meet with him until I’ve done 10 minutes of cardio, so it’s not from cold. This is a great circuit to do at home and I’ve included images of a modified plank. RA hands and wrists just aren’t up to the task of supporting my whole body weight.

I’m including two pictures and a video of me exercising that are extremely unflattering. I do everything for you people.

This is plank for RA.

plank

My elbows are under my shoulders and my heels are at a 90 degree angle. I’m probably not doing this perfectly so I’ll ask Loren to make a quick video of the three exercises together. I’m supposed to be squeezing my tush but I’m not ready to guarantee that I was. Also, it’s really hard for me to do this without holding my breath. I need to work on that.

This is what a V-Set looks like

Basically you keep your feet up and your core engaged while pulsing your arms up and down. It is positively exhausting and my form falls apart quickly. It’s fantastic to have a trainer for this exercise.

Here’s a video of the Russian Twist. I want to add a disclaimer that says something to the effect of my belly is all scrunched up so it looks extra fat… but the reality is that my belly could go down a bit. So I’m going to suck it up and cry mean girl if anyone but me mentions it.